Know Your Church History: A Review

It’s interesting to me that Justin Holcomb has just released a book about heresy.

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I say “interesting” because another author and I have just written a new article on what we call “the H-bomb” — how Christians misuse the word “heresy” all the time. The article will be published this Fall, God willing.

In our article, we will show that the way the word “heresy” and “heretical” were used in the New Testament doesn’t at all map to how people commonly use it today. Neither does it map to the way pre-modern Christians used it.

That said, Holcomb’s book looks at how historic Christianity understood the word. And in his companion volume on the creeds and counsils, he explains what orthodox doctrine is exactly.

In Know the Heretics, Holcomb provides an accessible guide to the most significant heretical beliefs throughout Christian history. Significantly, most of them are alive today.[Continue Reading...]

When Did Christians Start Tithing?

In our book, Pagan Christianity, George Barna and I wrote an entire chapter on the history of tithing from the Old Testament era, through the New Testament, and onward into church history.

What we establish will shock most Christians.

Namely, Christians didn’t begin the practice of tithing until hundreds of years after the death of the apostles.

They certainly gave money to various needs. But they didn’t tithe as they do today.

On another subject, have you ever asked yourself where the modern “worship service” comes from that’s observed in virtually every Protestant and evangelical church with minor adjustment to date?[Continue Reading...]

12 Forgotten Things Every Christian Should Know

The 97th episode of the “Christ is All” podcast has released.

In this episode, I discuss 12 forgotten things that I believe every Christian — new and seasoned — should know. If you find this message valuable, please share the link to this post with all your friends.

Let me tell you. I wish I had this  knowledge in my 20s! It would have spared me a lot of frustration and heart-ache.

The podcast is short and opens and closes with a music trailer (as most of my episodes do).

If you’re pressed for time, listen while you drive, walk, exercise, do household chores, or relax. I believe the listen will be well worth your time.

[Continue Reading...]

Haters Gonna Hate

If you are making an impact on people’s lives, you will . . . (not might) . . . attract haters.

So if you don’t want any haters in your life, don’t speak, don’t write, don’t blog, don’t podcast . . . oh, and don’t breathe.

Haters are either fueled by jealousy, low self-esteem (which is trying to assert itself), or an inflated-ego (which has been bruised somehow and elicits bluster).

Every once in a while I’ll get a flaming email from a hater.

A few weeks ago, a man wrote me an email which included baseless accusations against a co-author of one of my books.

Of course, the man making the accusations doesn’t know the person they were accusing. They just read some slanderous smackdown on the Web which painted my co-author to be a combination of Freddie Krueger, David Koresh, and a certified warlock. And to this benighted soul’s shame, he naively swallowed it hook, link, and sinker. (Or hook, line, and sinker, if you prefer.)

Click here to read the rest of this post on my Patheos blog.

A Textbook for Preachers & Teachers

Leonard Sweet has written a remarkable book for those who minister God’s Word.

In a day when it’s so rare to find preaching that’s powerful, anointed, and which reveals Christ, Giving Blood is a paradigm-shifter.

This is more than a book. It’s a textbook and a practical manual.

In each chapter, Sweet shows those who minister the Word how to exegete the images in Scripture. How to speak the language of the present culture and impart life to its hearers. How to move beyond pulpiteerism and give messages that are participatory and interactive.

The book is gorgeous . . . outside and inside. It’s a brilliant work. Nuggets of gold from a life-time of experience.

Giving Blood is a groundbreaking resource for every person who teachers, preaches, exposits, or exhorts.

I will state one of my disappointments. I rarely do this, but when the book came out, I asked a few well-known leaders who have the ear of American preachers and teachers to share my interview with Sweet on the book.[Continue Reading...]

Don’t Make This Mistake

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest Man who ever lived.

Paul of Tarsus, Mary of Bethany, John (the apostle), Lazarus, and Peter were also “great” individuals in my book.

However, if you interviewed the folks who met Jesus, Paul, Mary, John, and Lazarus at the time, you’d discover that relatively few of those folks recognized that they were in the presence of greatness.

This has always been the case, and it’s true today.

For the most part, people don’t recognize greatness when they are in arms reach of it.

And we take for granted those things that we do not recognize.

Unfortunately, Americans (even American Christians) measure greatness by external things like wealth. If wealth was the measure of greatness, then virtually everyone in Hollywood and the sports industry would be “great.” Not to mention drug lords, adult-film stars, and mafia bosses.[Continue Reading...]

60 People You Should Know

Alton Gansky has written an important book called 60 People Who Shaped the Church. It’s a historical work that’s super easy to read.

Each chapter features one of the 60 game-changers in church history and dedicates a few pages to each one.

I caught up with Alton recently to talk about his book.

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Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?

Alton Gansky: Historian Bruce L. Shelley said many Christians suffer from “historical amnesia.” Michael Crichton, novelist, said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” 60 People Who Shaped the Church is an effort to address that problem. The church did not spring into existence full form, it developed over time and passed through many fires of controversy. Much of that has been forgotten by the person in the pew. My book is an effort to show the people behind the church—the sinners, saints, rogues, and heroes—and to do so in a way that even those with no inclination toward history can enjoy. The book is written for the non historian.[Continue Reading...]

Attend 5 Conferences in the Comfort of Your Own Home

As I’ve shared recently, I’m only accepting 6 speaking engagements a year. So I’m very selective on which invitations I accept.

This year, I’ll be speaking at a number of conferences. All of them are sold out, except for the Buzz Seminar (a premium training for bloggers & authors), which has some space left still.

If you’re interested in attending the Buzz Seminar in Orlando, Florida July 4-5, email PTMIN@aol.com and put in the subject line – The Buzz. Information will be sent to you.

The Buzz Seminar is NOT a Christian event. It’s a premium training for bloggers and authors of any kind. Registration ends June 1.

That said, here are 5 conferences wherein I gave keynote talks.

While these recordings come at no charge to you, they are not free.

I simply ask that you email the link to this post to 3 of your friends who are serious about following Jesus.

If you are new to my blog and only know me from my earlier books on ecclesiology (“church”), I haven’t written on “church” issues since 2009. And none of these talks discuss the subject.

These talks are all part of my larger ministry of the deeper Christian life — the subject of my last 10 books. Consequently, they are suited for all serious Christians in all movements, church forms, and denominations.

Enjoy![Continue Reading...]

A Big Thank You & Parable Extends Their Discount Until the Morning

I want to thank all of you who got a copy of my brand new book, JESUS NOW.

Because of your efforts in grabbing a copy during release week, the book hit Parable’s prestigious #1 bestseller spot out of their top 10 books.

Here’s an image from the Parable site showing JESUS NOW as their #1 top seller right now.

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But that’s not all, Parable has extended their 50% discount with the Study Guide (free) all day today!

They will email you the link to download the Study Guide on or before May 12th, using the same email address that you used to order. So make sure you check your spam that day.

If you are new to the blog, here are the links. Both versions qualify you for the Study Guide if you order today.[Continue Reading...]